About the event

In 1984, HONOLULU Magazine established its Hale Aina Awards as the Islands’ first local restaurant awards. Before then, culinary awards in the Islands had been given by Mainland travel interests. The Hale Aina Awards were the first to recognize local tastes. 

Over the past 30 years, the Hale Aina Awards have been much imitated, but they still stand out, as the most prized dining awards in the Islands.

All HONOLULU readers are eligible to vote. Voting takes place over the summer (June, July, August) online. A hard copy ballot also appears in the August issue each year. After the ballots are tallied, the magazine designates its readers’ favorite restaurants as Hale Aina Award winners for that year.

Hale Aina means “eating place.” It is the closest Hawaiian equivalent to the word restaurant. But Hale Aina has come to mean the most prestigious dining awards in the Islands. They act as a guide to readers about where to eat, they bolster a restaurant’s reputation and they have been publicized all over the Mainland and Japan.

The Hale Aina Awards also feature a fun and delicious signature event for HONOLULU Magazine. What had started as a potluck celebration in a conference room at the office has grown into a gala celebration. The awards are announced for the first time at this event, in November of each year.

 

How the 2015 Hale ‘Aina Ballot nominations are selected:

In each Hale ‘Aina Award category, there are six available slots for nominations. Three are automatically filled with the gold-, silver- and bronze-award-winning restaurants from the previous Hale ‘Aina Awards, in recognition of their demonstrated high quality. Two restaurants are nominated by HONOLULU Magazine's food and dining editor, Martha Cheng, based on her own research and impressions of Hawai‘i's dining scene. And lastly, one nomination slot is reserved as a write-in, to allow readers to suggest their own favorite restaurant in each category, if it hasn't already been nominated.

 

This year’s restaurant lineup includes:

  • Tiki’s Grill & Bar
    Big Isle grass fed beef tenderloin, uni shiso béarnaise, kula onion soubise, reggiano yukon fritte.

  • Mariposa
    Braised lamb ragu, big island hearts of palm puree, naked ravioli, hamakua mushrooms, crispy parmesan salad.

  • Alan Wong’s
    Braised short rib dish with a spicy mushroom and peanut relish.

  • Le Bistro
    Parmigiano-reggiano crusted Kulana beef tartare style, foie gras fondue, guanciale, cassava frites.

  • Azure
    Smoked Pier 38 fish chowder, sweet Corn, fingerling potato, lup cheong, "oyster cracker."

  • Morimoto Waikiki
    Morimoto’s signature tuna pizza, big eye tuna, olives, anchovy aioli, jalapeño.

  • Roy’s Waikiki
    Kampachi crudo, yuzu kosho, white soy, jalapeño, garlic aioli, pickled watermelon radish, Kahuku sea asparagus.

  • Monkeypod Kitchen
    Handcrafted potato gnocchi with roasted hamakua mushrooms, Mao Farms swiss chard and Big Island chevre, tomato coulis.

  • JJ’s French Bistro
    Le café chocolate mocha Bavarian.

  • STAGE
    Lilikoi creamsicle, organic extra virgin olive oil shortbread crust, strawberry balsamic coulis, fresh fruits.

  • Kalapawai
    Mini browned butter salted chocolate chip cookies with ice cream and milk.

 

Use your Priority Destinations® or Priority RewardsSM credit card at checkout and receive a 20% discount off GENERAL ADMISSION tickets courtesy of First Hawaiian Bank. Enter the first 8-digits of your card number in the discount code field to redeem this special offer.

 

FAQs

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

The Hale Aina Celebration is open to guests of all ages; however consumption of alcoholic beverages at the event is prohibited under state law to guests under the age of 21.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Self parking is available at the Sheraton Waikiki or valet parking is available at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Questions about the event can be directed to jeffa@honolulumagazine.com or 808-534-7573.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

You are encouraged to bring your paper tickets to the event to make the check-in process more efficient. Should you forget your paper ticket, please check-in by LAST NAME (of the ticket purchaser) at the registration tables.

What is the refund policy?

Ticket purchases made prior to Nov. 1 are elligible for a refund. If a refund is needed, email jeffa@honolulumagazine.com or call 808-534-7573.

 

Past Hale Aina Award Winners

2012 Hale Aina Award Winners (Best Restaurants in Hawaii)

2013 Hale Aina Award Winners (Best Restaurants in Hawaii)

2014 Hale Aina Award Winners (Best Restaurants in Hawaii)

 

John Heckathorn Dining Excellence Award

2014 — Alan Wong’s and Roy’s

 

Past Restaurant of the Year Winners

1985 Restaurant of the Year — The Third Floor
1986 Restaurant of the Year — Michel’s at the Colony Surf
1987 Restaurant of the Year — Michel’s at the Colony Surf
1988 Restaurant of the Year — Matteo’s
1989 Restaurant of the Year — Michel’s at the Colony Surf
1990 Restaurant of the Year — Bali by the Sea
1991 Restaurant of the Year — Golden Dragon
1992 Restaurant of the Year — Maile Restaurant
1993 Restaurant of the Year — Maile Restaurant
1994 Restaurant of the Year — 3660 On the Rise
1995 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
1996 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
1997 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
1998 Restaurant of the Year — Hoku’s
1999 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2000 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2001 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2002 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
2003 Restaurant of the Year — Hoku’s
2004 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
2005 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2006 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2007 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2008 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2009 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s
2010 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
2011 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
2012 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
2013 Restaurant of the Year — Roy’s
2014 Restaurant of the Year — Alan Wong’s (Oahu), Mama’s Fish House (Maui), Merriman’s Waimea (Big Island), Merriman’s Fish House Poipu (Kauai)